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Homespun design

Take a look at the room in your house where you hang out.

Does it even slightly resemble the rooms on the Home & Garden channel that you watch when you think no one’s looking? Your sofa is perfectly acceptable and you even have some decent art – but why does your home’s crown jewel reflect a “no design” approach to design?

In this column, I’m just going to use my 34 years as an interior designer to help you figure that out. You don’t need to go out and buy new furniture, rugs, or accent pieces. We’ll take your existing floor plan, your home furnishings and personal items and make them all work together.



It is a kind of magic, taking the stuff of your life and rearranging it to resemble a beautiful living space that reflects who you are.

This column will give you the tools to create a stylish living space – whether it’s your living room, entry way or laundry room. You’ll find it’s not that difficult once you plunge ahead.




Index your taste

The most difficult part of re-design is getting started. Since I’m not advocating buying all new stuff and just replacing everything (too easy… and too expensive), this will be the least expensive design project you ever tackled.

A good first step is to get some design magazines. The Nevada County Library carries several you can read at your leisure. Have a 3-by-5 index card handy and jot down what you like.

Are you attracted to large and bold or quiet and understated? Do living plants seem to brighten a room or represent the sad fact that you haven’t kept one alive in this decade? Do you like groupings of collectibles or are you a minimalist? Are your family photos more pleasing to you than a Picasso print?

This exercise will help you refine what’s important.

Tackle “stuff”

The second step in this exercise may be a little more difficult.

Take one “stuff accumulating” area – I’d suggest your coffee table or mantle for starters. Give it a critical once-over, and then set everything on the floor.

When I did this at a Cedar Ridge home recently, I asked my client to group the stuff into three piles: Must stay, could relocate and could live without.

Move the “could live without” pile to the garage or closet immediately. Out of sight, out of mind. Look at it again in a few weeks and decide if maybe it would find a better home at Hospice Gift and Thrift.

Take the “could relocate” pile and see if it fits in another room of the house. Lots of things in the living room don’t have to reside there.

Now you have your “must stay” objects. In the next column, we’ll talk about how those will fit into your redesigned living space.

Barbara Wirth is a professional interior designer. She resides in Nevada City and can be reached at 274-3834.


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